View From the L.A. Pogrom

AP Photo/Francisco Seco

Noah Pollak provides what we rarely see in the media: a firsthand account from the inside of a Jewish community that has been subject to violence and harassment from "protesters." He was one of the targets.


What we learn is what we already suspected and have seen in the United Kingdom: the authorities aren't there to protect the people being harassed or even beaten; they are there to enable the harassers to behave how they like with no consequences. 

The Los Angeles near-pogrom was one of the most violent and scary of the escalating protests against Israel. As the Establishment has signaled open season on Jews--you can do what you like, as long as you don't commit murder, it seems--the pro-Hamas crowd has gotten bolder and more violent. 

In New York, protesters took hostages and routinely vandalized buildings, statues, synagogues, and the homes of Jews without consequence. Jews are routinely targeted for harassment and prevented from going about their business, and the authorities shrug and suggest that Jews keep their heads down. 


Basically, they are told to quit being Jewish. 

Pollak's experience in Los Angeles was telling

On Sunday, a synagogue in the largest Jewish neighborhood in Los Angeles hosted a small, privately advertised event for those interested in purchasing homes or second homes in Israel. “The Great Israeli Real Estate Event” at Adas Torah synagogue wasn’t political and it had nothing to do with the Gaza war. But within moments of its noon start time, it became the backdrop to the worst antisemitic violence in Los Angeles since an attack on Jewish diners at a restaurant in 2021.

Over the course of several hours, with dozens of LAPD officers decked out in riot gear largely staying out of the fray, around 100 pro-Hamas activists attacked, bear-sprayed, harassed, and brawled with Jews up and down Pico Boulevard.

The police occasionally stepped in, but their main activity Sunday afternoon seemed to ensure that the activists were able to successfully shut down the front entrance to the synagogue, ruin the event, and harass Jews more or less with impunity. Dozens of video clips from Sunday afternoon have been posted online (a good roundup is here). The striking thing about the footage is that despite the significant police presence, there is scant footage of the police forcefully intervening in the numerous fistfights, brawls, and beatings.


As usual the attitude is that all this is the Jews' fault. If only they would disappear, evacuate Israel, "go back to Poland" (the site of Auschwitz), or at least quit being so Jewish then the violent protesters would stop being violent protesters. So the police are there to stop Jews from entering a synagogue. 

But as I got closer, the truly meaningful spectacle came into view: behind the phalanx of LAPD, on the sidewalk in front of the synagogue, were the Hamas supporters. When I walked up to the police with my boys and asked if I could enter the synagogue, they told me not to come any closer and said that I should leave. 

I asked calmly but incredulously, “Shouldn’t you be making sure this place stays open?” The reply was: “You should leave.”

Police were unwilling to confront, arrest, and prosecute bad actors. Jews were being policed in the name of “safety.” In Los Angeles and other big cities, and on many elite campuses, the message from authorities is essentially: things would be so much easier if you stayed off campus, avoided the library, didn’t go to your synagogue, and overall just stayed away from the mobs that regularly gather to confront you.

It’s important to note that this approach applies only to certain kinds of people. If a hundred masked Christian Republicans, say, had gathered in front of a Los Angeles mosque on Sunday and assaulted Muslims, we would now be several days into a national news cycle about Islamophobia and injustice in America. There would be joint LAPD-FBI task forces kicking down doors, and press conferences, vigils, presidential speeches, and multipart investigative reports from numerous leading publications.


Take note: the police were there to keep Jews out, not allow them into their own space. Their job, as they saw it, was to let the "protesters" barricade the entrance to the synagogue and turn away the Jews. 

This type of scene--warning Jews to stay away and go away from public or even specifically Jewish spaces--is typical of the world in 2024. Islamists screaming for the eradication of Jews can attack with impunity while civilized people are advised to (or forced to) submit to the whims of the mob. 

Americans are, for the most part, appalled by the protests, but for most of us, they are something to be witnessed on TV or online. We understand at some level a "heckler's veto" is being tolerated, but few people have realized that the Blue Establishment has empowered the mobs to attack Jews. 

We are given pious lectures about "antisemitism" and "Islamophobia" as if there is a massive increase in both--not true. There are no mobs attacking Muslims, but there are mobs attacking and harassing Jews every day--with the acquiescence of the left. 


Why did it have to escalate like this? Because, as they have realized on elite college campuses and in blue cities across the country, anti-Israel activists understand that they enjoy something like immunity. They can’t murder or severely beat people, but pretty much all other criminality—vandalism, graffiti, trespassing, harassment—will go unpunished. It’s one thing to understand that from watching the news. It’s quite another to witness it—to have to rush your kids away from a synagogue because Hamas supporters are getting violent outside and the police are letting it happen.

Even when people get arrested, they are almost always let go without any charges. It is a show to prove that the Democrats "care," and once the cameras go away, the rioters are given a pat on the back and a license to hunt Jews. 

"Just don't kill anyone. That's bad optics."

The point--and I have to assume it is a desire shared by the powers that be--is to drive Jews out of public life and even many communities. The message is clear: you are not wanted. 

It's not about Israel--the war is just an excuse--because nobody being harassed is involved in the war. It is about Jews. 

Ironically, while a large number of the protesters are Muslim, I suspect the majority is not. They are the Antifa crowd--the radical Left--who have been given immunity for almost all their actions. These are the people who burned down cities in 2020 and whose goal is burning down America and Western Culture. 


That's why Iran and Hamas are applauding them. They share a goal: the destruction of our civilization. 

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